History of the Philippines

Philippine Flag

The Philippines is the third largest English speaking country in the world. It has a rich history combining Asian, European, and American influences. Prior to Spanish colonization in 1521, the Filipinos had a rich culture and were trading with the Chinese and the Japanese. Spain's colonization brought about the construction of Intamuros in 1571, a "Walled City" comprised of European buildings and churches, replicated in different parts of the archipelago. In 1898, after 350 years and 300 rebellions, the Filipinos, with leaders like Jose Rizal and Emilio Aguinaldo, succeeded in winning their independence.

In 1898, the Philippines became the first and only colony of the United States. Following the Philippine-American War, the United States brought widespread education to the islands. Filipinos fought alongside Americans during World War II, particularly at the famous battle of Bataan and Corregidor which delayed Japanese advance and saved Australia. They then waged a guerilla war against the Japanese from 1941 to 1945. The Philippines regained its independence in 1946.

Filipinos are a freedom-loving people, having waged two peaceful, bloodless revolutions against what were perceived as corrupt regimes. The Philippines is a vibrant democracy, as evidenced by 12 English national newspapers, 7 national television stations, hundreds of cable TV stations, and 2,000 radio stations.

Filipinos are a fun-loving people. Throughout the islands, there are fiestas celebrated everyday and foreign guests are always welcome to their homes.

Island groups of the Philippines

UAE Map Philippine Map - Click for larger view

Compose of 7,107 islands which make up the country of the Philippines. This country is located in Southeast Asia and the islands are in the western edge of the Pacific Ocean.

The divisions of the Philippines are the three island groups of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon, the largest island where the capital of the Philippines is situated; Visayas, known for its fine beaches and idyllic coves; and Mindanao, whose exotic forests make it an irresistible haven for nature lovers. Luzon and Mindanao are named after their main islands of the same names, while the Visayas (the Visayan Islands) is an archipelago.

Luzviminda is a portmanteau of the names of the island groups (Luzviminda stands for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao) and is also a popular name for Filipino women.

Luzon: Visayas: Mindanao:
  1. Luzon Island
  2. Palawan Island
  3. Mindoro Island
  4. Masbate Island
  5. Catanduanes Island
  6. Marinduque Island
  7. Romblon Island
  8. Polillo Islands
  9. Burias Island
  10. Ticao Island
  11. Tablas Island
  12. Sibuyan Island
  13. Busuanga Island
  14. Culion Island
  15. Coron Island
  16. Balabac Island
  17. Babuyan Group of Islands
  18. Batanes
  19. Calamian Group of Islands
  20. Cuyo Islands
  21. Kalayaan Group of Islands
  1. Cebu Island
  2. Panay Island
  3. Negros Island
  4. Bohol Island
  5. Samar Island
  6. Leyte Island
  7. Guimaras Island
  8. Siquijor Island
  9. Biliran Island
  10. Bantayan Island
  11. Camotes Islands
  12. Boracay Island
  13. Semirara Island
  14. Panaon Island
  15. Limasawa
  1. Mindanao Island
  2. Basilan Island
  3. Jolo Island
  4. Samal Island
  5. Dinagat Island
  6. Camiguin Island
  7. Siargao Island
  8. Bucas Grande Island
  9. Sarangani Island
  10. Turtle Islands

People & Culture

The Philippines is a diverse culture—a mixing of native and foreign influences. Over 60 different ethic groups are scattered throughout the country. With this range of backgrounds, a variety of languages and dialects exist (over 80 total). The national language is Filipino (based on Tagalog), with many speaking other languages such as Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Llocano. English does remain the language for business.

Christianity is widely practiced—the only Asian country that practices Christian faiths. However, many Muslims also call the Philippines home.

Cuisine is also varied due to the diverse culture mix. You can find gastronomy with Chinese and Spanish flair. Barbecue is popular, so are dishes served with rice and vegetables cooked in vinegar and garlic. Tropical fruit is abundant and you will find in the cuisine and in desserts, along with crème caramel.

Weather and Climate

Philippine Climate
Find more about Weather in Manila, PH
Click for weather forecast

The Philippines is normally warm with abundant rainfall and gentle winds. There are three pronounced seasons: wet to rainy from June to October; cool and dry weather from November to February; and hot and dry weather from March to May.

The northern part of the Philippines is cooler in the months of November to February. However, in April and May, northern portions often experience higher temperatures. Outside the big cities, the temperatures are cooler as well. The high level of concrete and asphalt retain the heat in Manila and Cebu.

Throughout the Philippines, four types of tropical climates are found: dry and rainy, never dry, not very pronounced seasons, and even distribution of rain. The east gets the rain. The south near the equator has rains that may occur year round. In the country, rains occur in the afternoons. December through February is the cooler weather, summer runs from March through May, and the rainy season lasts from June through November, which includes thunderstorms and typhoons. This rainy season has rainfall averaging 38 in to 1600 in.

The rainy season is a not a bad time to visit because you do not deal with scorching heat and sun. Unless a typhoon is occurring, rain falls only two to three hours a day.

Average temperature is 80 F year round.

Public Holidays

Philippine Public Holidays Year 2015
New Year’s Day (Regular Holiday) January 01, 2015 Thursday
Chinese New Year (Special non-working day) February 19, 2015 Thursday
EDSA Revolution anniversary (Holiday for all schools) February 25, 2015, Wednesday
Araw ng Kagitingan (Regular Holiday) April 9, 2015, Thursday
Maundy Thursday (Regular Holiday) April 2, 2015
Good Friday (Regular Holiday) April 3, 2015
Black Saturday (Special non-working day) April 4, 2015
Labor Day (Regular Holiday) May 1, 2015, Friday
Independence Day (Regular Holiday) June 12, 2015, Friday
Ninoy Aquino Day (Special non-working day) August 21, 2015, Friday
National Heroes Day (Regular Holiday) August 31, 2015, Monday
All Saints Day (Special non-working day) November 1, 2015, Sunday
Bonifacio Day (Regular Holiday) November 30, 2015, Monday
Additional special non-working day (Special non-working day) December 24, 2015, Thursday
Christmas Day (Regular Holiday) December 25, 2015, Friday
Additional special non-working day (Special non-working day) December 26, 2015, Saturday
Rizal Day (Regular Holiday) December 30, 2015, Wednesday
Last day of the year (Special non-working day) December 31, 2015, Thursday

*Separate proclamations will be issued for the observance of Eid'l Fitr and Eidul Adha

And also be advised of the following:

Each Sunday is a day off for private sector.
Each Saturday and Sunday is a day off for Government sector.

Travel Advisory

There is no nationwide advisory in effect for the Philippines. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to an ongoing terrorist threat to Westerners and Western interests.

Philippines have many wonderful touristic destinations, whether your into culture and tradition, arts and crafts, recreation and entertainment, shopping and many more. The Philippines remains a Safe and Fun destination for all tourists.

The Philippines is a tropical country with fascinating landscapes, active volcanoes, splendid beaches, coral waters, tropical forests with more than 3500 species of plants and animals, super friendly people, a country worth for a visit.

Manila is the seat of administration and the center of commerce and industry, culture, the arts, and education. It is the largest and most important city in the Philippines. It is also one of the loveliest and most exciting cities in Asia. The city of Manila has been combined with other major cities and municipalities to form what is now popularly known as Metro Manila, which has a total area of 60 sq. km.

Planning to visit the Philippines during the festive season? You have to make sure you reserve your room in advance. Early booking will ensure hassle free, great discounts and enjoyable vacation.

We welcome you to Pearl of the Orient Seas. It's more fun in the Philippines!